making of titanic {How much steel in the model?} : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

how much steel went into the making of the model titanic for the movie?

-- daryl (, March 26, 1998


I don't know, but I hope it was better steel than went into the original Titanic.

By the way, does anyone know if the steel in Olympic or other ships at that time (1911-1912) was also faulty, or is it simply to difficult to say now?

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, March 26, 1998.

Tom, Olympic and Titanic were built in adjoining slips at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Olympic started construction December 16, 1908, and Titanic on the last day of March 1909. There are several pictures of the two sisters sitting side-by-side on the stocks. Since they were built at just about the same time, I think it highly likely that Olympic had the same high-sulfur steel and high-slag rivets as Titanic.


-- Kip Henry (, March 26, 1998.

Considering Kip's comment about the sisters in dock together, I wonder if anyone has thought to test the Olympic's steel as a comparison. Isn't she is shallower and warmer water?

-- crystal smithwick (, March 27, 1998.


Yes, it seems likely; I was just wondering if the problem varied from one shipment of steel to the next, or if it was a general problem in all large quantities of steel at that time.


You're thinking of the other Titanic sister, the Britannic, which wasn't finished until 1914, just before the outbreak of WWI. It was sunk by a German mine in the Agean Sea in 1916. The Olympic died a quiet death in 1934 at the scrapyards in England; for all I know, some of her steel could be in my old desk chair. However, you're right that it would be interesting to test the steel from the Britannic wreck to see if it has any of the same problems as the samples taken from the Titanic.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, March 27, 1998.

Thanks for the correction Thomas, I get them confused...Titanic..Olympic.. Britannic. I seem to remember somewhere that they were going to name the third ship the Gigantic but after the sinking decided a less...pretentious name would be more appropriate.

By the by...was the Britannic as opulent as her sisters? What kind of retro fitting or design changes were made to the surviving ships after the sinking? Did they raise the compartment walls to the top?


-- crystal smithwick (, March 27, 1998.

Hi Tom:

The science of metallurgy in 1912 was still in it's infancy; they didn't have the tools to measure impurities in the metals, and the effect of those impurities to weaken or strengthen steel were not understood. Since both hulls were under construction at the same time, my guess is that the steel plates came straight from the smelters to the yard, and then were parceled out to whichever hull needed them that day.

Hello Crystal:

Yes, Brittanic was originally to have been named Gigantic. The name was changed after the Titanic disaster; White Star denied it, of course--they always intended to name the ship Brittanic. But someone found some promotional documents with 'Gigantic' on them (a 'Gigantic' poster is reproduced in "Titanic: An Illustrated History").

As for comparative opulence, no comparison can be made. The Royal Navy requisitioned Brittanic while it was still fitting out in the Harland and Wolff yards, so the passenger fittings were never completed. Instead, the interior spaces were configured for use as sickrooms, dormatories, operating rooms, and all the other trappings of a WWI hospital.

For those who don't know, Brittanic was in the very early stages of construction when Titanic went down. Construction was halted until the conclusion of the offical inquiries. When construction resumed, changes were made to the design of the ship to add an outer hull or skin; the watertight bulkheads were carried higher in the ship, with more electrically-powered bulkhead doors; and more lifeboats were added, with several large lifeboat cranes mounted on the boat deck.

Ironically, none of those improvements did any good. In November 1916, while cruising the Agean Sea en route to the Gallipoli Penninsula, Brittanic struck a floating mine and sank in less than an hour, with a loss of 30 lives (out of 1,100 on board). She never carried a paying passenger.


-- Kip Henry (, March 28, 1998.

I have seen detailed drawings from late 1913 of what the interiors of Britannic were going to look like; they were mainly of the first-class lounge and dining room. These rooms were to be very similar to those on Titanic and Olympic, but with perhaps even more opulence, more ornament, more exquisite carving of the woodwork. Had the ship actually been fitted out for passenger service she would have probably been the most luxurious ship on the seas.

One further note on her sinking: when she hit the mine in the Agean, most of the forward portholes on the ship were open, because it was quite warm in the Agean. When the ship started going down at the bow, tons of water started flowing in the portholes which may have made a difference in the sinking or at least how fast she went down (about one hour). Maybe it wouldn't have mattered: the mine blew quite a hole in the bow and five or six compartments were compromised. Still, it makes for interesting speculation and exploration.

Think about it: two of the three Olympic-class ships never saw New York harbor at all. White Star never fully recovered from the financial and publicity losses, even with the fairly successful 1920's.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, March 29, 1998.

What is sulfur ? Do you mean Sulphur ?

-- Edward (, September 11, 2002.

Hello Tom, The disparity of British and American spellings should be obvious here. Sulphur is the British spelling and sulfur is the American spelling of the same non-metallic element.

-- John Matthew Constantine (, November 04, 2002.

um....I just wanted to say one thing....."I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD!" WOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOooooo!!! LOL! =-D

-- Gabriel (, January 12, 2004.

Actually, the steel in Titanic and Olympic were exactly the same (obviously). However, contrary to popular belief the steel was not faulty. The rivets may have been but not the steel used in plating out the hull. To prove this,in 1911 Olympic had a run in with a british cruiser. The bow of the crusier was crushed and the olympic was badly damaged. But both ships made it to nearby ports for repairs. During the war, Olympic ran over a sub causing the sub to sink, with only minor damage to the hull of the olympic. So you see it was not faulty steel plating that contributed to the sinking of the titanic. Also tests have been run to prove my point further.

-- Ryon Moncrief (, March 18, 2004.

Actually recent tests have been conducted that *dis*prove your point. The Olympics 1911 collision with the cruiser Hawke occured in significantly warmer water than that of the North Atlantic in April 1912, & the Olympics "ramming" of the enemy sub in WWI was reported by witnesses to be a mere "glancing blow" of little consequence (although even a glancing blow from a 40,000 ton ship is substantial when it invlolves a sub)and not "running over" the sub as you state. Several soup-plate sized pieces of Titanics hull were subjected to stress tests, basically hammer blows at varying temperatures. At around +40F the steel absorbed the shock with little effect, however, once the steel was cooled to approx. +28F, the estimated temperature of the water April 14, the same pieces shattered easily when struck. Analysis of the steel at the microscopic level found it to be laced with chemical impurities, specifically manganese sulfide inclusions which caused weakening of the steel & more so when combined with extremely cold water, therefore the impure steel *could* have compounded the damage caused by the iceberg. But we'll never know for certain.

-- Peter Goodwin (, August 31, 2004.

Hey there daryl- The steel from the orginal ship was closely examined for the making of the model. They tried to get everything exact down do the steel- hopefully it was better than the orginal but you never do know

-- Lindsay Carmicheal (, January 12, 2005.

Recent progress with stress testing indicated the steel was fairly high quality steel at the time, but it was actually the rivits which were torn apart. The steel buckled under the stress and sheared the heads off the (cold steel bolts - forced and tempered with heat into the plate holes)rivits and forced the plates apart letting the water in. the rest is history...

-- Paul Marsh (, March 10, 2005.

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